Ranking the Raw Talent - Week 2 (CPR Productions)
Aug 28, 2012 - 3:56:57 PM
WEEK 2: 27/08/2012
‘Sup, Lords of Pain? Mazza here, once again to take you on a journey back to last night’s Raw. As some of you will already know, and others will have guessed due to the fact that I spell words correctly, I am a Brit and as such Raw ends for me at 4am on a Tuesday morning. Because of the joys of work and family commitments, it means I usually watch Raw the next day when I get home. This has major advantages in that I can fast forward through what seems like hours of adverts and divas matches. On the negative side though, I usually end up playing chicken with Lords of Pain all day, not wanting to get spoiled but still wanting hints as to what happened. It’s a sad old life I lead, I tell you! Anyway, as I was up working until 1am last night, I decided I would watch the first hour live. I found it to be one of the most boring hours in Raw history and went to bed with no hope for the show. In fact, I was already regretting embarking on a series where the premise was to talk about ten good elements on the show. That said, I was pleasantly surprised with the rest of the night... until the main event at least. Whilst it wasn’t ground breaking or full of top quality action, there was a rather nice emphasis on comedy throughout the middle of the show. Now WWE usually go way too far when they think something is funny but it played out well here and at times felt like a nice little nod to the World of Sport wrestling I would watch as a kid. The comic relief is reflected in the rankings this week so without further ado, I bring you...
THE REAL POWER 10
10. Damien Sandow - 1 Point (Total - 1 Point)
This one is for a reader who I will simply refer to a “JazzHAD” here. I knew it wouldn’t be long until the intellectual savior of the unwashed masses and our martyr would snag his first point in this party. Placed in a tag match full of larger than life characters trying to find their position, he stood out much more than the other men involved for me. Cody is once again back to really strange delivery of his promos and I thought Sandow was 100 times stronger and more believable in the role he is portraying. He also continues to look solid in the ring and, more importantly, isn’t just checking his character on the apron. I can see him overtaking a number of midcard heels in the next few months.
9. John Cena - 2 Points (Total - 10 Points)
With CM Punk having his hands full with The King, it meant Super John had a pretty quiet week. In fact, when I was placing people I forgot that he even had a match on the show. I guess that gives you my thoughts on his encounter with The Miz. Whilst it wasn’t bad or anything, it was pretty pointless and I assume just thrown on the card to give him something to do until his final heroic act of asking for the cage to be raised. Not much in the way of progression in his feud with Punk but enough to keep things ticking over. I would expect business to pick up quite a bit next week.
8. Santino Marella - 3 Points (Total - 3 Points) & 7. Heath Slater - 4 Points (Total - 4 Points)
And here is the pair who kicked off the comic relief I talked about earlier. Over the years I have gone hot and cold on Santino depending on just how “in your face” WWE are being with him but there is no doubt whatsoever that the guy has a great sense of comedic timing. During NXT and the Nexus storyline I could not stand Heath Slater but for the last six months or so I have been firmly on the one man rock bandwagon. He works really well as the goofball loser and has been brilliant in his work with the legends. What Slater and Marella did on Raw is go out and have a really fun match. They might not be the best workers in the business but they played to their strengths and had a rather cool comedy match filled with lots of fun spots. Moderation is the key and they didn’t overplay their hand with the slapstick display. When you compare that to, say, Ryder versus Otunga, it is clear which pair made the most of their TV time. Here’s hoping they can find good things to do week-in, week-out.
6. CM Punk - 5 Points (Total - 15 Points)
Far from the Champ’s greatest Raw but obviously he deserves some points for keeping The King out of the announce booth all night. I thought his opening promo with Lawler was weak by his high standards and rather repetitive. His match with The King wasn’t much better either to be honest. Whilst King’s work with Miz a year and half ago was fun, this one just didn’t click and, as a result, nobody cared. After the main event however, Punk begun to quickly rise up the list. His beatdown of Lawler was perfect and actually made everything else that happened between them pretty redundant. A simple good old fashioned arse whooping was all that was needed to get the point across. Hopefully we don’t linger on this now and can actually focus on Punk vs Cena for Night of Champions.
5. Randy Orton - 6 Points (Total - 9 Points)
I am still dumbfounded that Randall tapped clean to ADR on Smackdown. It seems odd. I guess it could be punishment for his Wellness Violation but then why would you have beat Del Rio on last week’s Raw. Anyway, it was another crisp but time wasting display from Orton as he looks to stay in people’s minds before he goes away for a while again. The booking of a match with Ziggler for SmackDown actually has me half interested in watching the Blue Brand this week for the first time in quite a while. They had a great match on Raw a few months ago and I would much rather be seeing that feud over the World Heavyweight Championship as opposed to Sheamus and Del Rio again.
4. Dolph Ziggler - 7 Points (Total - 16 Points)
Dolph looked awesome coming out with the Y2J pose and music and went on to have another show stealing in-ring performance. In fact it puts him into a slight early lead in this SummerSlam to SummerSlam series but I am going to focus on a Ziggler negative today. Once again he just didn’t seem very comfortable when speaking for himself. I can’t quite understand why either. He oozes heel with his wrestling and he clearly knows what to say as his tweeting is top notch. He just comes across as weak when he has a mic in his hand and although he will need to break away from Vickie eventually, I think he still needs her as his mouthpiece right now. Maybe his promos will work better as a face and if that does turn out to be the case, it could work out very well if problems with Vickie set the turn in motion.
3. Daniel Bryan - 8 Points (Total - 15 Points)
The Anger Management skits just seem like they shouldn’t work in the slightest but D-Bry has that midas touch right now. The comedy theme was not far behind everything that Bryan did on Raw and he was quite heavily featured. Seeing him interact in his sessions was great but watching him put it into practice was even better. He tried to keep his issues under wraps in his match with R-Truth (including an awesome fist bump with Little Jimmy) but eventually snapped, got counted out and kicked around the ring steps. More importantly however was the fact that he once again had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand the whole time... and it wasn’t a particularly lively crowd.
2. Triple H - 9 Points (Total - 9 Points)
We all know I am a massive Triple H mark but even I can’t condone the way WWE are acting like they have a dead head of state. At the same time, I thought Hunter came out and delivered one hell of a promo. This time he had the crowd with him (and as I said, it wasn’t a great one) and he showed great emotion without taking it too far [i]a la[/i] Shawn. Whilst we are under no illusions that he is really hanging up his boots for good, from a storyline perspective he did well to sow those seeds of doubt. The real question however is when he will wrestle again and who will it be against. I shall look into that a bit further once I have crowned this week’s number one.
1. Kane - 10 Points (Total - 14 Points)
Topping the lot this week is the Big Red Machine with an excellent performance. First of all, Kane was so much better as a colour commentator than Lawler has been recently and he didn’t even say a word (despite inexplicably putting on his headset). Deciding against chokeslamming Ryder but doing it to Otunga was great storyline continuation whilst being totally random at the same time. His crowning moment however was in the Anger Management skit where he listed off his “achievements” to his therapist. It was a little nod to a lot of the crap that Kane has gone through over the years and was delivered impeccably. These skits are going to live on in Raw history, popping up on highlight editions but this will be the one that the fans will love the most.
I never need much of an excuse to get the subject back onto Triple H, but as I promised earlier I will have a little look at just when and where The Game should and/or could return. To be honest there aren’t a whole host of options left for Hunter in terms of big marquee matches but I will have a look at some of the more intriguing possibilities.
5. Brock Lesnar
Obviously you have to start with Brock. Hunter’s promo made it seem highly unlikely that he would come back to fight anybody else. Whilst most of the IWC seem content leaving this as done, that is because of the thought that Brock will be having a shot at the Undertaker come Mania. From a kayfabe standpoint, Trips getting revenge before then totally kills any credibility Lesnar will have in terms of potentially ending the streak. At the same time though, maybe Taker vs Lesnar isn’t the plan. If it isn’t, then the rematch from SummerSlam is a no-brainer. In fact, I personally would have Trips go over at Survivor Series to set up a third and final encounter at WrestleMania.
4. Shawn Michaels
There has been talk of this match happening but I really can’t see it. I think Shawn is done and there is no chance in hell his extensions could even handle a short match. More importantly, it’s been done before and to a very high standard. Their chemistry is undeniable but it is simply a feud that doesn’t need to be done again.
3. Shane McMahon
Shane-O may seem happy away from home but this is an extremely logically big money match-up down the road. A power struggle with Vince won’t give us much in the way of pay-off but Shane going to war with Steph and Hunter for daddy’s company will write itself. The only problem is there are no hints that this is likely to happen any time soon, if ever and although Shane has equipped himself extremely well when he has wrestled in the past, age is not on his side.
2. The Rock
When it comes to Hunter’s greatest rivalries, this one will always be my favourite. The fact is that The Rock and Trips had chemistry that was off the charts. On top of that, I think they both have enough left in them to roll back the years and really steal the show. It is said that they don’t really get on and Dwayne is obviously busy for Mania 29 but it would make an excellent star-studded encounter for WrestleMania 30 if the stars could align.
1. CM Punk
This is the Trips match however that needs to happen more than any other. With the WWE title likely to be all up in Rock-Cena II come Mania, this is as big a match as possible for Punk. I think the problem is that Punk will have to win but Hunter is on a horrible run right now. If The Game can knock off Lesnar before then though, it should give Punk that much more in victory. More interestingly right now is who would be the heel and who the face. It wasn’t that long ago where I thought Triple H being the bad guy was easily the best way but it doesn’t look like that has much chance of happening by Mania. Pencilling this in for SummerSlam 2013 however could solve all the niggly little issues.
And that brings the edition of Ranking the Raw Talent to a close. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts. Is there anyone badly out of place or missing in the top ten? Did you think Anger Management sucked? Not a fan of The Game’s promo? You can use the handy little comments boxes below, shoot me an email >>>here<<< or hit me up on my Twitter @MazzaLOP to let me know. I shall be back next week, same place, same time(ish). Until then... Peace!